Horgos

July 22, 2016

While Martin and Chris remained behind in Belgrade for a final round of meetings, the rest of us set off by bus up to Subotica. On reaching Subotica, our first order of business was to head straight up to Horgos, one of the two unofficial camps on the border for an initial assessment of the site. 

 

My first impressions weren't quite as I expected. It's a very different camp to the more established ones we've seen back in Greece. Set back from the motorway, pressed up almost in desperation against the imposing border fencing, the makeshift camp half built from branches and leaves, almost blends sheepishly into the scrubland around it. The sharp line of the razor wire running overhead cuts across the camp, as Hungarian border guards look down from the vantage points above. 

 

As we approached on foot, we could see a group of curious motorists to our right, lined up to take photos before continuing on their journey through the border. The large number of children in the camp was obvious as we passed through the middle of kids playing football and could see a large communal cricket match being played in high spirits off to our left. The energy and optimism was noticeably different to Ritsona - people here believe they have at least some chance of taking the next step on their journey. Each day, around fifteen are allowed to pass through into Hungary. Despite being so transient, there was also a real sense of community; almost everyone was willing to speak to us and try to give any information that would help. With minimal food handouts and an almost complete lack of other basic necessities, people here somehow manage to maintain their dignity and their hope. 

 

After us only being in the camp for a few minutes, Katrin and Kirsty were recognised by a young boy they had known back in Inofyta. It was particularly emotional for them after forming a close relationship with the kids back in Greece, to see them here, the whole family living out of a camping tent, still desperately struggling onwards against the odds. 

 

After the two hour flight and the four hour bus journey it took us to reach here, it really brought home to us what it took for this family to bring their children here on foot. The impossible choice that so many families are still faced with - to stay stranded in Greece, or to try to drag your children across borders like these, just to give them a chance at a better future. 

 

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